As Rick Perry endured a wave of criticism for his now viral debate flub from Wednesday night, the Texas governor’s family rushed to his defense on the campaign trail.
In an interview, Perry noted he received some words of love and support from his wife, Anita, after he failed to name the third government agency he would eliminate upon becoming president.
“My wife said ‘I love you,’ Perry recounted in an interview on FOX News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” Thursday. “She just said, ‘Look, I love you.’ She knew better than to tease me after that, I think.”
Anita Perry hit the trail Thursday in Florida, defending her husband’s debate performance and noting that despite his blunder Wednesday night, he remembered a more significant moment in the couples’ life last week.
“He may have forgotten a word last night,” Anita Perry said at a Republican Women’s Club event in Duval County, Florida.”But you know what, he didn’t forget my anniversary, our anniversary, last week.”
Perry engaged in a media blitz following the debate, speaking with reporters in the debate spin room Wednesday night, appearing on five morning news shows, participating in two Fox News interviews and recording the Top Ten List for the Late Show with David Letterman Thursday, in an attempt to lessen the blow of his forgetful moment.
“He went straight to the spin room last night after the debate and admitted he made a mistake and that he forgot that word,” Anita Perry said. “He was out the door this morning at 5:50 dressed in his suit with a smile on his face, going to do as many television shows as he could.”
Perry’s son Griffin also rose to his father’s defense, sending a message on Twitter directed towards the mainstream media that he accused of hastily criticizing the Texas governor for his lapse.
“Dear #MSM please read John 8:7 before attacking dad about forgetting something. People have forgotten much more important things than DOE,” Griffin Perry wrote on Twitter, citing the Bible’s passage about casting the first stone.
But as Perry tried to move past his most recent debate gaffe, he also raised a mistake from a previous debate in September, when he suggested that those opposed to providing education to illegal immigrants don’t “have a heart.” Perry has apologized for that comment in the past, but he took the repentance one step further Thursday, calling his remark “arrogant” and noting his wife’s view that the statement was “insulting.”
“I said something at the Orlando debate that was arrogant. It may have been because I thought I knew it all because I’ve been the governor,” Perry said of his heartless statement at the Fox News/Google Debate in late September.
“That’s the reason I said that I was sorry for saying the comment that I made that it was. I think it was perceived as arrogant. My wife certainly perceived it was arrogant, and she said it was insulting, and I want the people who disagreed with me on that day to know that I’m sorry.”